NBA: Bobcats 115, 76ers 109
By Mike Cranston
CHARLOTTE ó After beginning the season 18-30, the Philadelphia 76ers preferred to focus on the positives of recovering to get back to the playoffs for the first time after a two-year absence.
Still, it’s clear the Sixers have lost some of their mojo in the past few weeks. Losing four straight to close the regular season will do that.
Jason Richardson scored 29 points and the Charlotte Bobcats recovered from blowing a big lead to beat Philadelphia 115-109 on Wednesday night.
There will be no postseason for the Bobcats, only numerous questions following a disappointing season that has left first-year coach Sam Vincent on the hot seat.
The Bobcats’ season finale included a never-before-seen sight: Michael Jordan sitting courtside for a home game. It was the first time since Jordan bought into the Bobcats two seasons ago that he had been anywhere other than hidden in a luxury suite during a game.
Jordan, dressed in ripped jeans, sat next to majority owner Bob Johnson in the first quarter. Jordan then scooted over a seat in the second quarter so rapper Nelly, a minority investor in the team, could sit between them.
Across the floor was Vincent, whose fate will be determined by Jordan, who has the final say on all basketball decisions.
“I’m surely not going to walk away from my responsibilities,” Vincent said. “Quitting is never been part of my game. I’ll be in the office ready to work to make this team better until somebody tells me I shouldn’t be doing that.”
Vincent, who has a year left on his contract, led the Bobcats to one fewer win than Bernie Bickerstaff did a year ago, despite the addition of Richardson and a significantly higher payroll.
“You hear the rumors and you hear the things,” Richardson said. “The owners have to make those decisions. MJ has to do that. … You don’t want to see something like that happen, but it’s all part of the business.”
Richardson was 3-of-7 on 3-pointers to finish with 243 this season, the fourth-most in NBA history.